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Xiaohongshu, also known as RED, is a Chinese social media & e-commerce hybrid platform. Will this new app dominate the online shopping market?

What is the Red app? See the Chinese app dominating online shopping

Xiaohongshu, also known as RED, is a Chinese social media & e-commerce hybrid platform founded by Miranda Qu & Charlwin Mao in June 2013. The platform combines shopping with user-generated content & reviews. Aside from getting their shopping fix, the app allows users to interact with like-minded people and navigate through the hottest trends.

The hugely successful app is basically a mix between Instagram & Amazon, where users share photos & videos, write updates, and link items in their posts to e-commerce listings. According to Statista, by July 2019, Xiaohongshu had a total of almost 300 million registered users. The user count tripled in one year since mid-2018, which goes to show the rising influence of the hybrid app. 

Nab the latest in fashion

RED’s social commerce model has attracted some of China’s biggest celebrities & influencers. The Shanghai-based app makes it easier to filter through many selections and helps you keep tabs on the latest trends. Users can stay on trend with the app by shopping the latest recommendations from user-generated content that includes emerging trends and styling guidance.

RED also makes it effortless to fine-tune the app to each user’s personal interests & style. The easy-to-use platform encourages shoppers to save videos or pictures as part of their curated personal collections, just like Pinterest. The integrated shopping store thrives on authentic reviews & quality products which makes it smoother for the app to assimilate high-end beauty or fashion products from foreign brands. 

With various useful features and trustworthy content, RED has become many users’ go-to platform for not only shopping but also for finding information about the latest, most popular products. The app’s reliable reviews help buyers make definitive leaps of faith when spending dough on unknown international brands. 

RED’s market share

RED has certainly carved out a niche for itself in the wide & aggressive landscape of e-commerce by promoting true to form user content. The app’s immersive take on e-commerce has proved to be popular with young users. RED has left traditional retail & e-commerce apps in the dust by attracting users who are addicted to their smartphones and take their cues from social media influencers.

According to Xiaohongshu’s official website, 70% of the platform’s user base consists of people born after the 1990s. The app’s progressing panorama of young users presents many global brands & influencers an opportunity to establish their presence in the notoriously elusive market of China and get their slice of the pie, seeing as Chinese e-commerce is growing at a breakneck speed.

Evolving & changing

Shopping online can sometimes mean wading through endless search results, cross-checking reviews, and pre-purchase research, but the young lifestyle sharing platform has made the tricky experience a pleasant one, especially for users in China who are looking to buy foreign products. The RED app checks all the boxes for a poised growth alongside changing consumer dynamics in China.  

According to Dragon Social, the RED app was introduced as an app for users to submit reviews & share overseas shopping tips with other users. In 2014, Xiaohongshu launched its own cross-border e-commerce platform, the “RED store”, after witnessing the growing demand for buying foreign goods. 

Since then, the platform has evolved into a trusted source for advice & recommendations and a way for Chinese consumers to connect with global brands. Anna Tolette, a content marketing associate at Synthesio, told The Drum: “Brands should care about Xiaohongshu because its success reflects widespread and fundamental changes to how Chinese consumers make purchases.” 

“The Chinese consumer of today is looking to upgrade his or her lifestyle and is willing to pay a premium to do so. These same consumers, more than others in the world, rely on trusted recommendations before finalizing their purchases”, Tolette added.

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